ICT environments now 'very messy'

IT heads in Asia have to manage "very messy" environments today and need to align with their company's business goals or face extinction, say panelists at ZDNet's TechBizz in Singapore.

TechBizz SG What's driving your ICT highlights

SINGAPORE--ICT environments today are "very messy" and CIOs will need to align with their company's business objectives or face extinction, according to panelists at ZDNet's TechBizz dialogue. 

IT is being hit by different forces--management, employees, customers, and partners--all demanding support for applications and devices they want to use, regardless of whether the IT department deems these safe for use. This has changed the environment IT heads today have to manage, said Dane Anderson, vice president of research director and region manager at Forrester Research.

"It's now very messy and a lot of organizations today are trying to figure out what is the best model to drive IT," Anderson said. 

Leong Yuh Khee, vice president of technology at Changi Airport Group, quipped that if IT heads did not align with their organization's business vision, their CIO role will mean stand for "Career Is Over".


He noted that the CIO's job is to articulate a company's IT architectuure to the various stakeholders, from the business to the technical people, and deliver IT to achieve the business outcomes. 

Asked what his biggest painpoint is, Leong pointed to availability of airport systems supporting tasks which are critical including passenger and baggage check-in. 

Tap internal data first

Employees now also access corporate data and applications via their personal devices, with some turning to cloud services such as DropBox and Evernote for work--sometimes without the knowledge of their IT support. Add to that the rise of social media and other user-generated content, valuable corporate data could now be residing across different platforms and devices. 

ZDNet asked the panelists how this is changing the way data is collected and analyzed for business intelligence.

Anderson suggested companies start by tapping the data they already have, noting that only 5 to 10 percent of in-house data is actually used and analyzed properly. This, he added, would be the cheaper and logical place to start. While a lot has been said about the  benefits of  analyzing data from social media  platforms, he noted that organizations can gain more business value from tapping their internal data.

SIM University (UniSIM) is doing just that and is currently test-bedding a tool, called e-portfolio, with a small group of undergraduate students to gain insights from data. The university's IT services director Gary Teo explained: "By looking at the students' profile, we are able to analyze and correlate the study patterns. For example, we can use business analytics software to correlate the performance of the students based on the courses [undertaken] and past performance, as well as participation in online learning.

"That gives us a good idea of the value of social media in addition to the various [teaching] platforms and contribute to the positive learning outcome of our graduates," Teo said. 

A complete video recording of the event is also available, or  read our report  covering other key highlilghts from the TechBizz dialogue. A similar discussion will also be held in  Sydney on July 17 , and  Mumbai on August 7

TechBizz SG panelists : 
Dane Anderson, vice president of research director and region manager, Forrester Research 
- Gary Teo, director for IT services, SIM University
Leong Yuh Khee, vice president of technology, Changi Airport Group 
- Nick Pilbeam, director of strategy consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong
Stephen Lim, technology committee chairman, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry